Shane Carruth

Upstream Color

Shane Carruth’s sophomore effort Upstream Color, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday, is easily one of the most interesting and unique films of 2013. This story of modern alienation from the director of Primer has been met with competing interpretations, lavish praise, genuine confusion, and (most importantly) a great deal of discussion. I spoke with Carruth about the film, and here’s what he had to say about Thoreau’s “Walden,” the difficult relationship between mathematics and filmmaking, and picking up pebbles in search of pigs.

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Upstream Color

Warning: Though Shane Carruth has referred to his film as “un-spoilable,” this post discusses the ending of Upstream Color at length. It’s been a little over two weeks since I watched Shane Carruth’s ambitious sophomore feature, Upstream Color, and there are still specific images, moments, sounds and feelings that continue to resonate through my mind. Whether it be the sight of a worm moving through the crevices of a human body, the briefly glimpsed drama of an anonymous couple who made a habit out of creating distance and never reconciled before it was too late, or a man’s poetic gesture of quitting his drone job by watching business papers slowly float down several stories in a hermetically sealed, ultra-modern office-tropolis, Upstream Color is as sleek and expertly polished as it is sneakily affecting. A swimmer recites Thoreau’s “Walden” as she gathers pebbles in an indoor pool. A seemingly benevolent farmer herds and feeds a mundane gathering of pigs in a film in which no quotidian imagery is simply that. Blue and white permeate nature as if color itself was a literal material force of its own. Upstream Color is remarkable in its ability to merge the poetic with the concrete, routinely invoking abstract ideas with specific material symbols. The result is one of the most purely cinematic, well-crafted, and earnestly hopeful films released in the first half of 2013. It displays as much faith in audience intelligence as it does in the idea that a sincerely optimistic message will speak […]

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Upstream Color

Editor’s note: Rob’s review originally ran during Sundance earlier this year, but we’re re-running it now as the film releases on VOD tomorrow. And, not for nothing, but it’s still the best movie of the year so far. Shane Carruth has twice broken an unspoken contract between filmmakers and audiences that says watching movies should never require you to think, work or do any of the heavy lifting. A high percentage of film-goers and way too many filmmakers signed on to this arrangement, but small numbers of each stand strong in their defense of difficult and unconventional films. Those movies aren’t better by default, many of them are flat-out unwatchable in fact, but when they work, when everything falls into place… audiences are rewarded with something truly special. Carruth chose not to dumb down his debut, Primer, and while the dense dialogue left many viewers in its wake, those who remained enjoyed a smart and tightly-wound little time travel tale at the heart of something more personal. His long-awaited follow-up, Upstream Color, sees him breaking the rules again but with a far bigger, bolder and more aggressively challenging film that for better or worse ups the ante in every regard.

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Iron Man 3

Tonight in the world of Movie News After Dark, we explore the reasons why Iron Man 3 is going to kick ass, watch the Game of Thrones cast do something that every violinist with a YouTube account has done, and we highlight some of the more unique experiences of SXSW 2013.

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Upstream Color

Upstream Color isn’t for everyone, a fact that writer/director/star/composer/producer/co-financer/editor/whatever-other-production-job-is-out-there Shane Carruth is quite aware of and wants people to know. To go about doing so, Carruth is handling the marketing himself, making it more a part of the story, rather than a selling tool. The Primer director went to great lengths to make Upstream Color, as shown by the extensive amount of credits he has on the movie. That behind-the-scenes ambition shows onscreen, something Rob Hunter and most critics agree with. The movie has a normal three act structure, but what Carruth does with that old formula is to tell the usual connective tissue and key moments through music, cinematography, and silence, instead of blaring exposition. Carruth spoke to us about his lyrical style, Upstream Color‘s narrative, and why there’s no Chaos Theory speech from Jeff Goldblum in the movie:

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Shane Carruth

It took far too much time for Shane Carruth to make his followup to Primer. The near-decade wait for his second feature didn’t come from laziness, since Carruth spent time working on an expensive project that next took off, and which I foolishly didn’t ask about. Fortunately, Carruth wanted to talk about where he’ll go after Upstream Color, a movie that lives up to the hype. While speaking with Shane Carruth at Southwest by Southwest, he gave us an insight into his mindset for his third movie.

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Alfred Hitchcock Fighting Steven Spielberg

This week on the show, Scott and Geoff discuss Shane Carruth‘s 9-year hiatus as a viable career option, get some thoughts on Upstream Color from Rob Hunter at Sundance and talk to up-and-coming actor Micah Hauptman about his first big break in the movie Parker. Plus, in the main event, short filmmaker Aaron Morgan (No Way Out) and Aint It Cool‘s Eric “Quint” Vespe stop by to discuss the legacy of two titans of filmmaking, asking the all-too-important question: In 50 years, will Steven Spielberg overtake Alfred Hitchcock as the more popular icon of movies?  Download Episode #3

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Upstream Color

Completely shunning the typical mode of movie marketing where every secret and scene is revealed in the trailer, Shane Carruth has managed to make his follow-up to Primer seem even more mysterious the more he shows of it. Granted, the first teasers looked a bit too faux-poetic to take seriously, but the first full trailer is a wonder to behold. Even though it shares maddeningly little (you can read a synopsis here), the imagery is stunning, and the selected scenes hint that there’s at least a palm worth of plot to this thing. This may seem like hyperbole, and it might simply be the trailer’s brainwashing talking, but if we praise Malick and Anderson for their abilities to craft this kind of emotional visuals, shouldn’t Carruth’s name be haunting the same halls? Sure, he hasn’t made many films, but if his name weren’t on this (and you knew nothing of it), wouldn’t you have guessed it was Malick’s signature? Keep that in mind and check it out for yourself:

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Upstream Color

The first teaser for Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Color, frankly, looked a lot like most of the stuff NYU film students produce for their thesis, but Carruth’s name carries a metric ton more weight because of the impact Primer had on the filmgoing world. Given that track record, it also wasn’t too surprising that the first look was fairly obtuse. There will be a full trailer for his sophomore effort ahead of its debut at Sundance — the festival that launched the indie sensation — so Carruth recently spoke to the LA Times about films present, future and forgotten. That includes a plot synopsis for Upstream Color.

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Upstream Color Teaser Trailer

If you were that expecting the first teaser trailer for Shane Carruth‘s newest film to answer any questions you may have about the filmmaker’s first project since he gave the world Primer, well, you might want to go back and watch Primer again, just to remind yourself what you’re dealing with here. Carruth’s latest film, Upstream Color, will premiere at Sundance in January, and while the project certainly didn’t need to put out such a stunning, unsettling, foreboding, intriguing, and just flat out well-made first teaser trailer to get cinephiles on board with the new film, we’re not complaining that such a teaser trailer exists. After the break, get a look at what Carruth has cooked up for us this time and, don’t worry, you don’t need to avert your eyes.

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Since we all have a million dollars, our minds are almost always tuned to the day dream of what kind of movie we’d make with all that loose cash just lying around (since banks do nothing but lose things). Would it be a romantic horror film? Would it be a silent action film? Would we blow of all of it on lighting and forget the other elements of production design? Probably. Fortunately, we’ve all had a few filmmakers tread before us in using their million bucks with efficiency and artistry. In a world where Michael Bay needs 200 suitcases full of $1m, these directors made it happen with only one of those suitcases (or no suitcases at all), and they created a lasting legacy despite their lack of foldin’ money. If they can do it, why not us? Here are 8 great films made for under a million dollars that we can all learn from. (And if you enter our contest sponsored by Doritos, you might actually win that $1m you need for all those lights.)

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a young man enamored by a beautiful city who discovers that amidst its perfection lies a man who lures victims to a violent death by drowning.

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published: 04.16.2014
B-
published: 04.14.2014
B
published: 04.14.2014
A-
published: 04.14.2014
C

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